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The "I was tired" defense works.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by F4GIB, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. F4GIB

    F4GIB Well-Known Member

    According to [district Attorney] Horan, Officer Bullock has no recollection of pulling the trigger. An examination of the pistol determined it was working properly, Horan said.

    Police officers are trained to keep their finger off the trigger until they are prepared to fire on a suspect. In this case, Horan said, Bullock believed his finger was not on the trigger. "He thought his finger was straight," Horan said. "He has no explanation for how it happened."
    * * *

    One factor that may have contributed to the accidental shooting was fatigue.... When Culosi was shot that night, the officer had been awake for nearly 17 hours.
    * * *

    "There's no doubt in our mind that if the shooter had not been a police officer, he would be facing criminal charges," Attorney DiMuro said.

    * * *

    Other recent cases of accidental deaths in Virginia have resulted in felony manslaughter charges.

    On Saturday, Jan. 21, a 19-year-old Prince William County man was charged with involuntary manslaughter after the gun he was showing off to an 18-year-old friend accidentally discharged and killed the friend.

    Last edited: Mar 30, 2006
  2. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Well-Known Member

    Links, please.
  3. Fly320s

    Fly320s Well-Known Member

    Which shooting was this?
  4. Sindawe

    Sindawe Well-Known Member

    This one: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/23/AR2006032301117.html

    The Fairfax County police officer who shot an unarmed man to death in January will not be charged with a crime, the county's chief prosecutor announced this afternoon.

    From the start, Fairfax police declared that the killing of Salvatore J. Culosi Jr., 37, was an accident and that the SWAT officer who fired had done so unintentionally. Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said that when a person fires a gun without malice and unintentionally kills someone, "they do not commit a crime."

    Attorneys for and the family of Northern Virginia Optometrist Salvatore J. Culosi held a press conference to react to news that Commonwealth Attorney Robert Horan will not bring charges against the officer who shot Dr. Culosi. (

    "I feel for the family of the victim in this case," Horan said. "You have to. But I also feel for the police officer. This is a good police officer. Fine record, almost 17 years. He's as shattered by this as any good police officer should be."

    Police had been investigating whether Culosi, an optometrist with offices in Manassas and Warrenton, was a sports bookmaker. An undercover officer had been placing bets with Culosi for nearly four months and arrived outside Culosi's townhouse in the Fair Lakes area on Jan. 24 to collect $1,500 in winnings, Horan said.

    Continues at link above.


    Funny, being "tired" has never been an excuse for mistakes in the places *I've* worked.
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Special privileges for special people.
  6. DRZinn

    DRZinn Well-Known Member

    He'd been awake for 17 hours? That's fatiguing?? That's like getting up at 6 and still being up at 11!
  7. MedGrl

    MedGrl Well-Known Member

    Speaking as an escapee form the Fairfax County Public School system...Fairfax County is the armpit of administrations. They are one of the wealthiest counties in the nation and are so poorly run that it sickens me. I am honestly not surprised that the officer is getting off scott free. I saw it happen in school all the time. One kid would haul off and slug another and then give some lame "I'm the victem it wasn't my fault" exscuse and the administration would give them the "there there" treatment.:fire:
  8. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Well-Known Member

    Negligent homicide isn't a crime in Virginia?
  9. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

    Ummmm . . . wow.

    I had not realized that the guy was charged with being a bookmaker. . . . a guy who takes bets on sporting events. I guess SWAT is used based on the anticipated risk of serving the warrant rather than the seriousness of the charges, but dang. . . arresting people for gambling never made sense to me.
  10. F4GIB

    F4GIB Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, no. They did no analysis of risk, just have a department policy of using SWAT whenever they can (good practice?).

    The undercover had been dealing with him for weeks. He had no recond of violence or anything before this. He was non-threatening. He was unarmed. He was a run-of-the-mill accountant not Billy-the Kid.
  11. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Well-Known Member

    You know, I am not saying that the officer should go to jail on felony counts, however there are some folks who have gone to jail on Felony counts for the same thing.

    OH YEAH, I loved the part where it said AT THE TIME of the shooting, Salvatore Culosi Jr., an optometrist, was unarmed and speaking with the undercover detective about the Pittsburgh Steelers' participation in the upcoming Super Bowl. After Culosi handed the undercover detective $1,500 in gambling winnings...

    And THEN they try to arrest the suspect...
  12. John Hicks

    John Hicks Well-Known Member

    I'm inclined to side with the officer on this one. No intent means no murder. Also, an accident without neglegence is not even manslaughter.

    However, the civil liability should still remain. The department is at fault for creating the "tense" situation by using SWAT for non-violent warrants. The department is at fault for having people on extended duty. And the department is at fault for the actions of its members.

    I hope the family of this guy sues and wins big. Of course, that just means they will raise property assessments or the car tax again to pay for it. :fire:

  13. molonlabe

    molonlabe Well-Known Member

  14. duckslayer

    duckslayer Well-Known Member

    So if one intentionally points a gun at someone then accidentally (or negligently) pulls the trigger, there is no negligence? I always thought that was called involuntary manslaughter.
  15. K-Romulus

    K-Romulus Well-Known Member

    Actually, he was a successful optometrist who owned not one, but two, clinics . . .

    Anyway, here is some more info that managed to slip through the cracks:

    (Edited to fix the following line)
    Here is what I believe to be the relevant law in Virginia on involuntary manslaughter, in case someone wants to take Horan's advice literally about "no harm, no foul":

    Gooden v. Commonwealth, 226 Va. 565 (Va. 1984) (case where a hunter was convicted for accidentally killing another hunter 400m away because he was "shooting blindly" at something in the nearby brush):

    The Va. Supreme Court talked about "gross, wanton, and culpable" in Barrett v. Commonwealth, 268 Va. 170 (Va. 2004) (case where a kid's mom was convicted for her infant's bathtub drowning):

    The Va. Supreme Court also described "gross negligence" thusly:

    Sooo . . . I am not getting Horan's argument here . . .

    Contrast this case with the case of the Montgomery County, MD, police officer whose shotgun "Went Off" while he was pointing it at an unarmed teenage girl holding a bag of Fritos. (State v. Albrecht, 336 Md. 475 (Md. Ct. App., 1994)).

    Different state, different law, yada yada, but here is what one judge on that MD court said:

    Horan should do a better job explaining his actions . . .
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2006
  16. GTSteve03

    GTSteve03 Well-Known Member

    No no no, see cops are allowed to point their guns at whomever they please, even if they're unarmed, and if they whoops let their finger slip and put a round thru someone, it's just an accident. No harm, no foul right? I mean, other than the guy that's layin' on the ground in a pool of his own blood. :rolleyes:
  17. Mainsail

    Mainsail Well-Known Member

    The excuse is that he'd been awake 17 whole hours? We have aircrews flying 24 hour days. That means from the time they show up at Command Post ready to fly (forgetting the time they spent showering and eating) until the time they shut down engines after the mission is 24 hours.

    When they feel the need to BS you, it sure makes it appear they are hiding something.
  18. zahc

    zahc Well-Known Member

    Boo hoo. By the time I get to bed today (or any weekend) I will have been up for 21 hours (6AM-3AM).
  19. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

    There have been times when I was at work for 17+ hours. Who are they trying to kid?

  20. Cuda

    Cuda Well-Known Member

    I must use that "unintentionally" shot the person defense next time...


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